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Black Humor: Comedy and Satire in African American Culture

ENGL 200.305
instructor(s):
TR 1:30-3:00pm
fulfills requirements:
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Junior Research Seminar Requirement of the Standard Major
Cultural Diversity in the US of the College's General Education Curriculum

In this course we will study the use of humor, specifically satire in African American literature and culture from the Harlem Renaissance to the twenty-first century. We will consider why and how Black humor and satire critique and comment on the social and political issues of their contemporary moment. We will critically examine how the scope of Black humor changes or evolves. Some guiding questions of the course will include: What constitutes African American satire and humor? How do these works creatively and humorously address issues of race, gender, identity, and Blackness? Students may be lead to research the use and purpose of stereotypes in Black humor and ssatire, or be interested in exploring Black women writers of the genre. The course texts may include George Schuyler's Black No More (1931), Ishmael Reed's Flight to Canada (1976), selected episodes of Chappelle's show, Paul Beatty's The Sellout (2015), Issa Rae's Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl (2015), and an exploration of comedy on #BlackTwitter.